Constitutional and Political Changes
in the Dutch Kingdom from a
Curaçao Perspective
Dr. Miguel Goede
University of the Netherlands Antilles
Perspecive
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Timeline
Political
Constitutional
Social and psychological
Personal
101110
Tomas
101010
• The Netherlands Antilles stoped to exist
• Curaçao and St. Maarten become countries
and partners in the Dutch Kingdom
• Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius become Dutch
municipalities/ Public bodies
But wasn’t it always about
becoming independent?
• The Antillian Parlement has exisited for 72
year when it was absolved on 9 October 2010
– First 6 islands
– Aruba left in 1986 and obtained an autonoums
status
• 5 April 1938 first meeting after elections of 20
December 1937
– 5 appointed members
– 5 elected members
– 6 Curaçao, 3 Aruba, 1 Bonaire, 1 Windward Islands
• Elections in 1936 based on the 1936
constitution
• Political parties emerge
22 march 1942 London Speech
• 1954 New Order
• It stated from the start that the Statuut was not
forever
• The Netherlands Antiles were removed from UN
decolonization list
• 742 (VIII). Factors which should be taken into account in
deciding whether a Territory is or is not a Territory
whose people have not yet attained a full measure of
self-government.
• Changese in 1948
• Aruba 8, Curaçao 8, Bonaire 2, Sint Maarten, Saba
and Sint Eustatius each 1.
• Universal sufrage
• Changes in 1955
• Aruba 8, Curaçao 12, Bonaire 1 and each
Windward Island 1
• 1975 Independance op Surinam
– We will send you your independance by mail
6-1=0
• The right of self-detemination per island was
created
• 1 January 1986 Aruba was granted autonomy
• Independance 1996
• Consequences for the Staten
• Curaçao 14 zetels, Bonaire 3, Sint Maarten 3, Saba
and Sint Eustatius each 1
The 1990’s
• 1993 Referendum
Curaçao status referendum, 1993
Option
Votes
Percentage
Option A:
Restructuring the
Netherlands Antilles
48,587
73.56%
Option B: Becoming a
self governing country
within the Kingdom of
the Netherlands
11,841
17.93%
Option C: Becoming a
direct part of the
Netherlands
5,299
8.02%
325
0.49%
Option D:
Independence
The new millennium
• 2000
– St. Maarten is stepping out
• 2005
– Curaçao is the last to
hold a second
referendum
– Autonomous status
equal to Aruba
– Option independence
grows a bit
• Results of the negotiations
• Slotverklaring 9 Septembers 2010
• Debt relief of 80% of the national debt till 2005 (More
than 5 billion Antillean Guilders)
• Financial Supervision
• More control on Justice
• Good Govenance
• 2009
– Third referendum
• Elections 27 August 2010
– Political shift
– 11 – 10
Dutch government
• 14 October 2010
– Right
– PVV
• What is their position on the islands?
– 7/1/2008 - helft Nederlanders wil af van de antillen.
• Posted in Wij- en zij.. cultuurverschillen onder de loep
•
Helft Nederlanders wil af van Antillen Gepubliceerd op maandag 07 januari 2008 Nederlanders zijn zeer
kritisch over de band tussen ons land en de Nederlandse Antillen. Bijna de helft (49 procent) wil de band
met de overzeese gebiedsdelen helemaal doorsnijden. Een ruime meerderheid (60 procent) wil dat als de
Antillen per se bij Nederland willen blijven horen, ons land de eis stelt dat de eilanden onder direct
Nederlands bestuur komen te staan. Dat blijkt uit een onderzoek dat in opdracht van DAG werd uitgevoerd door
Maurice de Hond.
30 years of debate
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Constitutional and Political Changes
in the Dutch Kingdom from a
Curacao Perspective (II)
Dr. Miguel Goede
University of the Netherlands Antilles
Introduction
• 101010
• Curaçao and St. Maarten
• Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba
• On the basis of an outline agreement
concluded in September 2005
– Division of society
• The Round Table Conference in Curaçao on 15
December 2008
• The conclusions of the final Round Table
Conference were signed on 9 September
2010. These stated that the amended Charter
for the Kingdom of the Netherlands would
enter into force as planned on 10 October
2010. As of 10-10-‘10 the Netherlands Antilles
has ceased to exist.
• The three other islands, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius
and Saba have voted for direct ties with the
Netherlands and are now part of the
Netherlands, thus constituting ‘the Caribbean
part of the Netherlands’.
Responsibility for foreign relations
• As of 10 October 2010, the Caribbean
countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
(Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten) each have
their own Foreign Relations Department.
What does the constitutional reform mean for
the Kingdom?
• On 10 October 2010 the Netherlands Antilles
ceased to exist as a country within the Kingdom
of the Netherlands. The Caribbean part of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands is now made up of
the countries of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten
(each with its own government) and, as public
bodies of the Netherlands, the islands of Bonaire,
Sint Eustatius and Saba. As in Aruba, the
government of the Kingdom is represented in the
new countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten by a
Governor.
Will there be changes to the way in which the
Kingdom promotes its interests abroad?
• No, the Kingdom will continue to promote its
interests abroad in the same way.
• The Kingdom’s external borders have not
changed.
• Foreign relations and defence remain
‘Kingdom affairs’.
How are governance and legislation organised
following the constitutional reform?
• Like Aruba, the new countries, Curaçao and
Sint Maarten, each have their own
government and parliament. Together, these
institutions are empowered to enact
legislation in regard to the countries’ own
affairs. The Dutch public bodies of Bonaire,
Sint Eustatius and Saba have the power to
regulate their own internal affairs. Each public
body has a local executive and a local council.
What is the Netherlands’ role in relation to the
other countries of the Kingdom following the
constitutional reform?
• The Netherlands works together with the Caribbean
countries in the Kingdom in the interests of protecting
the independence of the judiciary, tackling corruption
and cross-border crime, and maintaining public order.
A joint Court of Justice is responsible for the
administration of justice in the Caribbean part of the
Kingdom, and a single Procurator General is in charge
of the Public Prosecution Service for Curaçao, Sint
Maarten, and Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Aruba
has its own Procurator General. The three police forces
serving Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire, Sint
Eustatius and Saba respectively also work together
closely.
How does the Netherlands manage its governance
tasks on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba now that
they have public body status?
• Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba now maintain two tiers of
government, i.e. a local authority and the Dutch central
government. Broadly speaking, central government has taken over
the duties performed previously by the Antillean authorities. The
local government is under the control of the local representative
assembly (‘the island council'). As well as taking over the tasks of
the Netherlands Antillean authorities, the Dutch government has
also taken on certain tasks previously the responsibility of the
islands, such as management of the fire service.
• The implementation of the Netherlands' tasks on Bonaire, Sint
Eustatius and Saba (and the related support services) is the
responsibility of the Department for the Netherlands in the
Caribbean (Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland), which has a branch on
each of the islands.
How is financial supervision organised
following the constitutional reforms?
• A Financial Supervision Authority has been
established for Curaçao and Sint Maarten to
supervise public finances under the ultimate
responsibility of the Council of Ministers for the
Kingdom. A similar body has been set up for
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba under the
minister responsible for Kingdom Relations. This
type of oversight structure will continue to exist
in the new constitutional situation. The
underlying supervisory principles are a balanced
budget, prudent financial management and a cap
on contracting debt.
Has there been any change to the Joint Court of
Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba as a
result of the constitutional reforms?
• Yes, the existing Joint Court of Justice of the
Netherlands Antilles and Aruba has become
the Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curaçao,
Sint Maarten and the Caribbean part of the
Netherlands (i.e. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and
Saba). The Supreme Court remains the court
of cassation for the Caribbean parts of the
Kingdom.
How does the Kingdom ensure that public order,
safety and security are maintained in the new
constitutional situation?
• Responsibility for maintaining public order, safety
and security and running the emergency services
on Curaçao and Sint Maarten now fall to the
respective Ministers of Justice of the new
countries. On Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba the
local authorities will be responsible for public
order, crisis management and disaster response.
The Public Safety and Security Act for Bonaire,
Sint Eustatius and Saba also provides for special
powers in the event of incidents whose scale
exceeds a single island’s capacity.
What is the role of the Public Prosecution Service in
the different countries of the Kingdom in the new
constitutional situation?
• Investigative and prosecutorial powers rest with the
Procurator General. There is a single Procurator
General for all the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom that
once made up the Netherlands Antilles: the new
countries of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the three
new public bodies of the Netherlands: Bonaire, Sint
Eustatius and Saba. The Procurator General is the head
of the public prosecution services in the new countries
and the new public bodies. There is a joint Procurator
General’s Office, with a staff including two advocates
general. In Aruba, the situation has not changed in any
respect as a result of these reforms. That country
continues to have its own Procurator General.
What currency will Curaçao, Sint Maarten and
the Netherlands in the Caribbean use?
• On 1 January 2011, the US dollar will replace
the Antillean guilder on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius
and Saba. Curaçao and Sint Maarten have a
joint central bank. The Caribbean guilder will
be introduced on 1 January 2012 as the
countries’ common currency. Until that time,
the Antillean guilder will remain the official
currency.
What is the relationship between the
Caribbean parts of the Kingdom and the EU?
• The Netherlands is a European Union member state,
but Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the Caribbean
part of the Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and
Saba) are not. Instead they have the status of Overseas
Countries and Territories (OCT). As a result, the islands
enjoy a number of advantages, for example where the
export of goods to the EU is concerned. In addition, the
islands receive funding from the European
Development Fund (EDF). And since citizens of the
Caribbean parts of the Kingdom are Dutch nationals
and thus EU citizens, they may also vote in European
Parliament elections. The constitutional reform does
not affect the islands' relationship with the EU.
How is the Representation of the Netherlands
in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten organised?
• On 1 January 2011, the Representation of the
Netherlands in the Netherlands Antilles and
the Representation of the Netherlands in
Aruba will be integrated to form the
Representation of the Netherlands in Aruba,
Curaçao and Sint Maarten.
• Curaçao wants all options for its development
– Adam Smith
– St. Eustatius: The Golden Rock
• www.sidsgg.com
• www.miguelgoede.com
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Constitutional and Political Changes in the Dutch